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Savory Black Bean Chili with Homemade Salsa

Contributed By: June, NJ | See all of June's recipes
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Active Time:  40 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 45 Minutes
  6 main course servings
Recipe adapted from Alan Gold, who taught his Chili class across the hall from my class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Serve with Hot Pepper Corn Bread! Estimated total time does not include soaking beans overnight.
1 pound dried black beans, sorted, well washed and soaked overnight in 3 quarts water
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 very large onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 to 6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 or 2 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded, deribbed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 14-ounce can peeled or crushed tomatoes
1 fresh hot chili pepper, seeded, deribbed, finely chopped (if none available, you can sub a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes)
For Serving: sour cream
finely chopped scallions
grated cheddar, jack or swiss cheese (your choice)
Discard the soaking water and rinse the beans again.

Place in a large, heavy pot. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add bay leaves, salt and pepper. Continue cooking the beans, adding water if necessary, until they are tender (about 1 hour). If there is too much water in the pot here, boil it off.

Remove 1/2 cup of beans and mash them. Return to the pot and simmer all the beans a few more minutes to thicken the gravy.

While the beans are cooking, chop the remaining vegetables (not the tomatoes). In a large, heavy skillet, cook the cumin seed and oregano over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned. When the spices are browned, add the oil to the skillet along with the vegetables. Raise the heat to high and cook the vegetable mixture, stirring often, until the onion is limp and translucent. (Be careful NOT to burn the garlic!)

Now, add paprika, cayenne pepper and the tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, smash them with the back of your spoon. Add more hot peppers, if you dare. Stir the mixture frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

Serve the beans in a large, shallow bowl, and arrange the salsa in a circle on top. Add a dollop of sour cream on top the salsa for more color contrast. Stir the salsa into the chili at the table, and ladle into bowls. Pass the condiments.

Date Added: 03/03/2011
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